Have you been stepping out of time with the music? Struggling to fit your new dance moves into two-step rhythms? This basic step pattern in Country Swing can give you a framework for all your country moves to keep you in sync. How? Hint: it’s based on The New York Hustle.
Other Names resembles Four Count Swing or Hustle
Level Beginner 2
Comes From Closed or Open Position, any move
Leads To Any, and is done throughout most Country Swing moves
In many places, people use the Rhythm Two Step pattern to travel or begin a dance; but when they reach a spot on the dance floor to do some moves, they launch into Country Swing. This is fine as long as you are following the beat of the music and signaling these changes to your partner clearly. Country Swing, like all other swing dances, is a spot dance. This means that all of the dancing is done from one location on the floor rather than while traveling.
There are styles of swing upon which Country Swing is based–Four Count Swing and Hustle. It takes the rhythms of Hustle and the motion of Four Count Swing. Both utilize a rock step to establish connection and timing–so you will find that this particular step is helpful in keeping your timing throughout the dance.
You are welcome to use the following as your basic step. You may continue to use Rhythm Two Step instead, but always, always, always strive for smooth transitions when switching into Country Swing moves!
Country Swing Basic Step
As with every dance, the leader will begin on his left foot and the follower on her right. Begin in closed position, or in open position with both hands connected to your partner’s hands. In either position, the hand connection is at about waist-height. This basic pattern is 3 counts long. The “& of x” denotes a half beat following the nominal beat it is attached to.
- Count 1 Take a small step to the left and sway your body weight until it’s centered over that foot.
- Count 2 Pick up and replace your right foot and sway your weight over that foot now. Alternatively, sway back over your right foot, keeping it in place.
- Count 3 Place the ball of your left foot a small step behind you. While your weight will be mostly over your back foot, keep your posture forward so you can launch forward again. If you tip your weight back over that foot, you will lose balance.
- A technique to make this look better is to draw your left shoulder back to the right, opening the space between you and your partner to a right angle.
- & of 3 Take a step in place on your right foot to center your weight back over that foot.
The steps are the same as the leader, but just the opposite foot:
- Count 1 Small step on the right foot, sway your weight over that foot fully.
- Count 2 Pick up and replace your left foot and sway your weight over that foot now. Alternatively, sway back over your left foot, keeping it in place.
- Count 3 Place the ball of your right foot a small step behind you. While your weight will be mostly over your back foot, keep your posture forward so you can launch forward again. If you tip your weight back over that foot, you will lose balance.
- Draw your right shoulder back toward the left.
- & of 3 Take a step in place on your left foot to center your weight back over that foot.
- Country Swing relies heavily on connection. If you have not read the article on that click here. This is the push and pull that gives each move momentum. Be careful that this “push and pull” feeling comes from tension and compression rather than yanking your partner around.
- Your patterns are not stuck permanently into patterns of three counts; in fact, many intermediate and advanced moves require longer patterns. Just keep stepping to the beat (or feeling the pulse if your move requires still feet) until you reach that rock step.
- Use the rock step to signify the end of a move or pattern. This provides a settling place apart from your partner to spring-load energy into the next beat. It will also give you and your partner the ability to call whatever happens on the next beat step 1 of the next pattern. The step after a rock step should be on the leader’s left, follower’s right.
- Match the tempo of the music. As long as you are moving your feet to the beat of the music, your partner will be able to stay in sync with you. It’s the lead’s responsibility to match the beat of the music, and the follow’s responsibility to match their lead.
- There are many ways to style your feet to the rhythm within this basic structure. Sometimes instead of a step the dancer will rock in place. Other times, extra steps on the half beat are taken to add rhythm. This is perhaps why the footwork for Country Swing is so elusive to most people watching the dance to try and figure it out. Just keep a sense of timing in your mind and body, so you step on the correct foot with the next beat.
- You do not need to step on every beat. Some moves will require you to step on each beat, and some will require no stepping. For example, during many lifts and dips the leader keeps his feet stationary to provide a solid foundation.
- Keep your quick steps small. Every dance uses a variety of step sizes to make the dance feel correct. All of the quick steps (half-beat steps) should be small. This makes the regular steps look larger by comparison, and adds more drama to the dance. Furthermore, it will help you and your partner to balance correctly.
- Followers, be sure not to jump the gun on beat 1. Wait for your lead to “suggest” that you move. If he doesn’t lead it, don’t do it! It’s the only way to teach the boys not to be lazy. Jk. Sometimes your leader will want you to take your time settling into your rock step to set up something cool in the next step. Just be patient.